Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease with natural animal hosts, ranging from rodents to non-human primates. It is caused by monkeypox virus (MPXV) belonging to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. In spring 2022, a rising number of confirmed monkeypox cases occurred in non-endemic countries, many without a travel history, raising concern for community transmission. A multi-national epidemic of clade II MPXV (formerly known as West African clade MPXV) is ongoing. The rise in number of monkeypox cases has led to increased testing for the MPXV in clinical laboratories.
The American Society for Microbiology has developed a white paper providing an overview of current laboratory challenges surrounding MPXV testing. The paper focuses on biosafety and risk assessment considerations related to specimen handling as well as recommendations for clinical specimen inactivation prior to MPXV testing. It also includes introduction of monkeypox viral infections, specimen types for diagnostic testing, and a link to ASM’s MPXV inactivation guidance for nucleic acid testing validation.